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Mississippi Senate Candidate Mike Espy Trailed by Ethical Questions

Mike Espy, the Democratic candidate in Mississippi’s Nov. 27 Senate runoff election, has been dogged by ethical questions over the course of his political career.

Espy, a former congressman who served as agricultural secretary during former President Bill Clinton’s first term, will face Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith in the runoff election after neither candidate secured a majority of the vote in the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

Espy has faced scrutiny over his lobbying work for the Ivory Coast under its then-president, Laurent Gbagbo, who is currently on trial before the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity.

Espy said in 2011 that he stopped lobbying for Gbagbo’s government less than a month after taking a three-month contract. Espy also claimed at the time to have received only $400,000 of the $750,000 contract and to have forgone the remaining $350,000.

But a report from Fox News on Nov. 15 appears to contradict that claim.

A signed Foreign Agents Registration Act Supplemental Statement that Espy filed with the Department of Justice in June 2011 shows that he worked for Gbagbo’s government for longer than two months and was paid the full $750,000.

Espy’s lobbying for Gbagbo’s government has previously faced accusations of ethical wrongdoing.

(Photo: HERB SWANSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Congressman Mike Espy (2nd-L) accepts his nomination for Secretary of Agriculture 24 December 1992 in Arkansas as U.S. President-elect Bill Clinton (L) listens. (Photo: HERB SWANSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Espy resigned from the Clinton administration in October 1994 while under investigation for allegedly receiving improper gifts.

Espy was indicted on 30 related felony charges in August 1997, but was acquitted on all charges in December 1998 after the jury concluded there wasn’t evidence of a quid-pro-quo or of Espy accepting the gifts with criminal intent.

Espy’s acquittal has been compared to the unsuccessful prosecutions of New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez and former Virginia Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Although Espy escaped conviction, the Office of Independent Counsel’s (OIC) investigation “revealed a pervasive pattern of improper behavior by Secretary Espy and his top aide, and by persons and companies regulated by or with business before the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA),” according to the OIC’s final report.

“The investigation disclosed that, among other offenses, companies with financially important matters pending before USDA gave Secretary Espy – either directly or via members of his family or his girlfriend – numerous gifts in an effort to garner his favor,” the OIC’s January 2001 report states.

Espy’s chief of staff at the USDA, Ronald H. Blackley, was sentenced in March 1998 to 27 months in prison for “lying about $22,000 he received from two Mississippi individuals who obtained large government farming subsidies,” The Washington Post reported at the time.

The Espy campaign did not return a request for comment.

COLUMN BY

PETER HASSON

Follow Peter Hasson on Twitter @PeterJHasson

RELATED ARTICLE: MSNBC Host Says Menendez Corruption Case ‘Doesn’t Look Close, It Looks Overwhelming’

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Dump PayPal Support Cornerstone: A company that opposes abortion, pornography, gay rights

The Florida Family Policy Council (FFPC) and Florida Family Action (FAA), as organizations rarely endorse businesses but they felt this one is important and unique enough to both endorse and encourage others to consider. FAA in an email states, “[We] proudly promote Cornerstone credit card processing for the following reasons:

  1. cornerstone.jpgFirst and foremost, Cornerstone refuses to process credit card transactions for morally objectionable businesses.  For instance, Cornerstone refuses to provide online merchant services to websites that contain pornographic content.  They will also have nothing to do with facilitating charitable contributions for Planned Parenthood, or other abortion providers, which cannot be said for many other credit card processing companies. They also refuse to provide services to groups and organizations that promote so called “gay-rights” agendas.
  2. Second, Cornerstone will save your business, church or organization money by taking less of a processing fee.  Additionally, Cornerstone also makes financial contributions back to the ministries and businesses that use their services so you can benefit financially in at least two different ways.
  3. Third, Cornerstone is a secure and trusted banking organization.   Cornerstone has been around for over 15 years and processes billions of dollars in over 30,000 ministries and businesses including, Home School Legal Defense Fund, American Family Association, Teen Pact, Liberty Counsel, The Gideon’s International, The National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family,  Forty Days For Life, Calvary Chapel churches and World Magazine to just name a few of thousands of ministries they serve.  Finally, also please note that your online gifts will continue to still be strictly confidential and your transactions secure, as Cornerstone’s proprietary encrypted technology gives the highest levels of protection to your personal and financial information.

To learn more detailed information and see the portfolio on Cornerstone and the businesses and ministries using them and other security data CLICK HERE:

You may have heard in the news about how the Pay Pal company is choosing to punish the state of North Carolina for adopting laws which have basic religious liberty protections.  Pay Pal is choosing to not open one of their 400 employee centers in that state because of their bias and hostility toward religious liberty and their advocacy for gay rights.  This is the kind of intolerance that we do not want to promote and which Cornerstone avoids.

John Stemberger, President of the Florida Family Policy Council asks, “Please consider changing your church, business or ministry to the clean credit card processing company, Cornerstone.  Don’t support those companies that are supporting evil and opposing all that we believe to be good, right, and beautiful.”

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After 300 Days and 164 Cosponsors, Bill to Protect Religious Liberty Stuck in Congress

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Rep. Mark Walker: Liberals Exploiting Bathroom Bill Controversy for Political Gain

Dump PayPal Support Cornerstone: A company that opposes abortion, pornography, gay rights

Bosnian Muslims in U.S. used Facebook, PayPal for Jihad plotting

EDITORS NOTE: Readers may sign up for a quote and more information with Cornerstone HERE.

VIDEO: Why I Signed the Religious Liberty Law

In an interview with The Daily Signal, Governor Phil Bryant (R-Miss) explains what his state’s new religious liberty law does and doesn’t do. While many opponents of the law say it will harm Mississippi’s economy, Bryant paints a different picture. He’s lowered taxes a whopping 50 times since taking office and says that, among other pro-growth policies, have made Mississippi a very friendly environment for businesses of all shapes and sizes.

ABOUT GENEVIEVE WOOD

Portrait of Genevieve Wood

Genevieve Wood advances policy priorities of The Heritage Foundation as senior contributor to The Daily Signal. Readers may send an email to Genevieve by clicking here.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Missouri Attempts to Send Religious Liberty Bill Straight to the People

Mississippi Is on the Right Side of History

Big Sports Benches People of Faith

EDITORS NOTE: This video interview with Governor Bryant first appeared on The Daily Signal.

New York in the Toilet: Gender Confused Governor Cuomo (D) Bans Travel to Mississippi

It appears that Democrats, particularly New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor of New York City Bill De Blasio, are gender confused. They appear to want New Yorkers to believe the absurd.

Ayn Rand wrote;

The uncontested absurdities of today are the accepted slogans of tomorrow. They come to be accepted by degrees, by dint of constant pressure on one side and constant retreat on the other – until one day when they are suddenly declared to be the country’s official ideology.

The grand absurdity of the 20th Century is that we may be biologically someone other than who we are at birth. It is the absurd notion that a male (man) or female (woman) can chose what sex they are simply by ignoring anatomy, biology and genetics.

In an attempt to make this absurdity the “official ideology” of the City and State of New York requires putting constant pressure on those who believe otherwise.

 from The Blaze reports:

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) banned all non-essential travel to Mississippi in an executive order after the Magnolia State passed a religious liberty bill that he described as “hateful injustice against the LGBT community.”

The bill, known as House Bill 1523 or the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act,” was signed into law by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) Tuesday and will go into effect July 1.

All-Gender-Restroom-SignIt appears that Governor Cuomo is confused about the gender identity of some New York citizens and has imposed a travel ban to Mississippi because HB 1523 states:

The sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions protected by this act are the belief or conviction that:

(a) Marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman;
(b) Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage; and
(c) Male (man) or female (woman) refer to an individual’s immutable biological sex as objectively determined by anatomy and genetics at time of birth.

[Click here to read the full text of HB 1523]

When Cuomo used the words “hateful injustice” he is referring to political correctness. Cuomo, like the Democratic Party, are all in for homosexuals and will defend that life style regardless of its consequences.

Michael F. Haverluck, reporter for OneNewsNow.com, writes on a new Center for Disease Control study:

After conducting an extensive study on homosexual behavior, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that those involved in such lifestyles experience a far greater amount of violence from one another than those in heterosexual relationships.

CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey is a first-of-its-kind study geared to determine the difference between the victimization of men and women by sexual orientation.

The results show that men and women involved in homosexual behavior undergo much higher rates of sexual violence than men and women who are heterosexual.

Surprising to many, homosexual women experience more violence than men. According to the study, a whopping 44 percent of lesbians were either raped, experienced physical abuse, and/or were stalked by their intimate partners during their lifetime. Even more shockingly, 61 percent of bisexual women endured such violence from their partners.

It is also reported that 37 percent of bisexual women indicated they were stalked, which is more than double the rate that heterosexual women experience from their male partners.

Furthermore, the CDC found that 37 percent of bisexual women were injured during the rape, physical violence, and/or stalking that they experienced at the hands of their sexual partners. [Emphasis added]

In March Cuomo boycotted North Carolina where the legislature, as reported by Vanity Fair, passed a bill “to override the city of Charlotte’s attempts to pass a localized ordinance expanding L.G.B.T. protections, specifically by targeting constituents’ fears that transgender individuals could use the planned Charlotte rule to prey on the opposite sex in bathrooms.”

In a 2014 column titled, “‘It Happened to Me’: How Transgender ‘Bathroom Bills’ Discriminate Against Women by Allowing Men in Women’s Spaces” Donna Miller, from AFTAH, reported:

While these so-called “anti-discrimination”/”gender identity” laws are presented to limit discrimination, these radical laws and policies discriminate against women by forcing them to endure public indecent exposure.  Do you know any other law or policy that a sets apart rules for less than 1 percent of the population (transgenders), but another huge portion of the population (women and girls) are told that they must endure men’s publicly indecency – all in the name of civil rights?

“This is political correctness run amok,” North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory said, dismissing the claims of discrimination against homosexuals by Cuomo.

We agree. Political correctness wants and demands we believe the absurd. You become an enemy of the state, in this case New York, if you choose to not believe the absurd.

It appears that Governor Cuomo is exhibiting macroagression towards the citizens of Mississippi and North Carolina. These two states are resisting and have drawn a red line in the sand against the grand absurdity.

RELATED ARTICLES:

The Pro-Absurdity Revolution

Bathroom law becomes campaign issue in N.C.

Mississippi Is on the Right Side of History

U.S. Immigration Agency Returns ‘Freedom of Religion’ to Naturalization Exam

Punished for Blogging at Marquette: A tenured professor faces dismissal after a blog went viral

Behind the scenes in the “gay” clubs in schools: Radical (and angry) adult activists. Attacking parents.

Election 2016—The Stakes Couldn’t Be Higher by Chris W. Cox

If there was a message I could get to every NRA member and lawful gun owner in America, it would be this: The 2016 election is under way and the stakes couldn’t be higher, so we have to get involved and go to work now!

For most Americans, odd-numbered years are not election years. We get a rest from the barrage of political ads, the omnipresent campaign signs and the never-ending coverage of local and national races by the news media. But this year, we can’t wait to get moving on 2016.

Before we get to next year’s pivotal races, there are five states with elections this year. On Nov. 3, voters in Virginia and New Jersey are electing state legislators; Kentuckians are electing statewide officers, including a new governor; and Mississippi and Louisiana will be electing statewide officers and state legislators.

In Mississippi, Gov. Phil Bryant, a strong NRA ally, is up for re-election. In Louisiana and Kentucky, the race is on to replace term-limited governors, and in both cases we have pro-gun candidates ready to step in. Endorsements and NRA Political Victory Fund grades for these races are included in this magazine for members in these states. (Members in Louisiana received their endorsement lists separately in the mail.) I strongly encourage every gun owner in these states to take action to ensure that our allies win these key elections.

In addition, there will be a very important vote this year in Texas, where voters will decide whether the Lone Star State adds the right to hunt and fish to its state constitution. This is a vital action to protect our treasured hunting heritage from attacks by animal rights activists and environmental extremists.

As important as these elections are, we must also look ahead. We all know what’s at stake.

We’ve seen how much damage an anti-gun president can do. Even with our victories beating back anti-gun legislation in Congress, President Barack Obama has used his executive authority to strip Americans of their Second Amendment-protected rights. In previous issues, I’ve described abuses from Obama’s bureaucrats at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Social Security Administration and other agencies.

Enough is enough. In 2016, we have to do everything in our power to elect a president who respects our fundamental freedoms. The good news is that there are many solid pro-gun candidates in the race. Gun owners should start to get informed now on the position each candidate holds on our right to keep and bear arms.

But as important as the race for the White House is, it’s also critical that we keep control of the U.S. Senate in pro-gun hands.

Right now, there’s a pro-gun majority in the Senate, and every member of the majority leadership is a solid, NRA-endorsed, pro-gun ally. But—and this is critically important—the electoral map is not in our favor. Our opponents have far fewer seats to protect than do we.

To bring this home, consider that they need only five additional seats to make Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) the majority leader of the U.S. Senate! That’s right, one of the biggest enemies of our freedom, one of the most entrenched anti-gun voices of the past several decades, could take control.

We simply cannot allow that to happen. That’s why, when I say that 2016 starts now, it’s because we cannot afford to wait until next fall to get involved. We can’t even wait until the primaries start. There is just too much at stake.

We must work together—starting now—to protect our freedoms, not just for ourselves, but for future generations. Your NRA will do its part and we trust that gun owners throughout America will answer the call to win back the White House, increase the pro-gun majorities in the U.S. Congress and elect pro-gun officials in the states. And I’m confident that, through your efforts, we will succeed.

chris cox nraABOUT CHRIS W. COX

Chris W. Cox has served as the executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, the political and lobbying arm of the National Rifle Association, since 2002.

As NRA’s chief lobbyist and principal political strategist, Cox oversees nine NRA-ILA divisions – Federal Affairs, State & Local Affairs, Public Affairs, Research & Information, Grassroots, Hunting/Conservation/Wildlife, Office of Legislative Counsel, External Affairs (International) and Fiscal. He also serves as president of the NRA Freedom Action Foundation (NRA-FAF), which conducts non-partisan voter registration and citizen education, and chairman of NRA Country, which brings country music artists together with NRA members in support of our Second Amendment freedoms and hunting heritage.

Mary’s Garden and Henry Ross for Congress

For the past few months Mary and I have been working from home rather than on the road campaigning for conservative candidates. I built a container for Mary’s veggie garden. How can someone be a gardener who freaks out over the sight of a worm?

My last blood test was not good. So, I have gone rogue in my battle to defeat diabetes; totally raw food. I only eat raw salmon and tuna and hearty salads. No diary. I only drink water with lemon and black coffee. No eating after 8pm. My daily sugar level has been dramatically better. I have been on this regiment for a month and a half. After 60 days, I will go for another blood test. I covet your prayers. I figure if I can get a handle on my health, I can introduce a healthy, but more normal diet and even cheat occasionally.

There was a knock at our front door. A courier handed me a package from CCC (Conservative Campaign Committee) with a memory stick inside. “Hello Mr Marcus. Your mission should you choose to accept it is Henry Ross for Congress, Mississippi. As always, should you or any member of our CCC team be caught working to send a true Tea Party conservative to Washington, the GOP will disavow any knowledge of our actions. This memory stick will self-destruct in 30 seconds.”

henry ross congress mississippi

Henry Ross, Republican candidate for the U.S. Congress, Mississippi District 1

Okay, perhaps, it did not happen quite that way, but we at CCC proudly announce our endorsement of Henry Ross for U.S. Congress, Mississippi, District 1.

Why should you care? Folks, the only way we stop Obama and his fellow Leftist’s anti-America and anti-God agenda is to replace Democrats, betrayers and spineless Republicans with rock-solid courageous conservatives; one race at a time.

Quoting CCC Executive Director, Joe Wierzbicki, “He (Henry Ross) is definitely “our guy” in terms of ideology and approach. He’s a Ted Cruz-Louis Gohmert-Ted Yoho-Mark Levin type of Republican.”

Ross’ bio is excellent – Former Circuit Judge, Assistant District Attorney, served in the U.S. Navy, was a member of the Navy JAG Corps, was an appointee to GW Bush’s Justice Department and graduated from Ole Miss.

Far too many GOP candidates are obsessed with trying to prove to the mainstream media that conservatives are not that bad, willing to compromise and play nice with Obama and the Democrats.

What sealed the deal for me to support Henry Ross was his boldness in stating who he is, what he believes and his intentions when elected, “…bring us back to God centered limited Constitutional government, where we have rights, but we have responsibilities – responsibility to our nation and to our families. But government has responsibilities to us to follow the Constitution and not bankrupt the country.”

Patriots, please join us in helping Henry Ross win the GOP primary and the runoff. Time is short. The GOP primary is May 12th. The special election runoff is June 2nd.

Henry, thanks brother for stepping up. Let’s get behind him folks. Go Henry Ross for Congress!

Arizona AG Horne refuses to recognize Stealth Jihad of the Gulen Movement

arizona ag horne

Arizona Attorney General Thomas Horne

Yesterday, the usual restrained, moderate informative format of the Lisa Benson show ended in an uproar.  The kerfuffle was over the refusal of incumbent Arizona Attorney General Thomas Horne to recognize the stealth jihad agenda of the Gulen Movement here in the US.  Horne, a former Democrat is in the final days of a fractious Republican primary that ends Tuesday amidst accusations of alleged abuse of office encompassing campaign funding and resignation of former aides objecting to questionable practices. This has resulted in investigations by the FBI and his own department’s Solicitor General.

The New York Times  article, “Legal Woes Pose Hurdles for Attorney General Tom Horne of Arizona in Campaign” chronicled Horne’s problems in a mid- July 2014 article indicating that he had been abandoned by luminaries in the State Republican Party  over accusations of questionable practices.   His opponent in the primary battle, Mark Brnovich is making much of these accusations.  Horne’s presence came as a result of a call from his campaign office requesting time to defend his support of the Gulen science and math academies.  We had Nidra Poller back on the program to address the blood libel of the Al Dura affair. That concerned the 55 second video on France 2 TV news of the faked death of a 12 year Palestinian youth, Mohammed al Dura, on September 30, 2000 in Gaza.  That fostered a slogan used by  Osama bin Laden to justify the Al Qaeda  9/11 attack  that still appears in pro-Hamas protests across Europe and here in the US during the current Gaza war: ‘ Israel murders Palestinian children’.  Poller is the author of Al-Dura: the long range ballistic myth.

When the matter of Turkey came up in the discussion with Attorney General Horne, this writer discussed the background of how Sufi Sheikh Mohammed Fethulleh Gulen came to be a resident alien in a fortified compound in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. This followed his flight from prosecution by the then secular Turkish government in 1998. We also noted his 2008 US Department of Homeland Security immigration hearing and support from a number of leading figures in the Islamic and US political firmament.  Those endorsements came from the likes of former President Clinton and Professor John Esposito of Georgetown University Center for Muslim Christian Understanding endowed by Saudi billionaire Prince Talal. We also discussed the contretemps between Turkey’s newly elected President, former Premier Recep Erdogan and Sheikh Gulen over massive charges of corruption by the former. These two had been allies ousting the long term secular rule of Turkey’s military and political parties in the tradition of Kemal Ataturk, first President of the Turkish Republic.  Sheikh Gulen is said to control a fortune estimated at over $25 billion, including media outlets, such as Turkey’s leading news daily, Today’s Zaman.  Erdogan has been a supporter of Hamas, ISIS and al Qaeda Affiliates and engaged in gold for gas schemes with Iran stifling US and EU attempts  at sanctioning the Islamic republic ‘s nuclear development program.  He is often referred to as the rising Sultan of the new Turkish Caliphate. Not to be upstaged, Gulen has been characterized as the most dangerous Islamist in the world because of the GM’s Hizmat (service)  control  of nearly 80 percent of  enrollment in Turkey’s preparatory schools, as well as the global network of GM controlled academies.

Both Erdogan and Gulen are united in opposition to Israel, once an ally to Turkish secularists and now accused of “enslaving Palestinians in Gaza”.  Both were particularly incensed over the May 2010 assault on the Turkish vessel the Mavi Marmara during which Israeli naval commandos killed 8 Turks and one Turkish American that tried to pierce the Gaza blockade.  The Mavi Mamara is owned by a global radical Muslim charity based in Turkey, IHH that has supplied funds and weapons to both al Qaeda and ISIS in Syria.

Nidra and I drew attention to Turkey as a questionable member of NATO, whose request for entry to the EU had been rebuffed for years over charges of human rights abuses and denial of due process under the 11 year term of Erdogan and his party’s super majority in the Turkish Parliament.

But the main issue was the world wide network of 1,100 GM Schools in over 100 countries. In the US there are more than 135 GM charter schools with an enrollment exceeding 50,000 in more than 26 states; 12 of which are in Arizona. All funded by taxpayers in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually. We noted the private investigations that had been conducted in 12 states and the FBI raids on GM schools in Louisiana and Illinois over abuses of students and other allegations.   We discussed legislation passed in Tennessee and under consideration in Louisiana and Mississippi. See our June 2011 presentation, Unveiling Gulen Schools in Tennessee.  Those legislative proposals contain restrictions on the proportion of foreign workers brought in under the HB 1 visa program as administrators and faculty at charter schools specifically targeting the abuses by the GM operated science and mathematics academies.  We told how state legislators were often entreated by free trips to Turkey to sample the cuisine, culture and vibrant economy of the country.  GM US academy sponsoring groups have also made contributions to the political campaigns of state legislators in those jurisdictions that have granted charter licenses.

A caller drew attention to a report on a GM Sonoran academy in Tucson that Attorney General Horne had visited in his capacity as the former Superintendent of Public Instruction for Arizona, an elected post.  Lisa Benson cited pamphlets that she found extolling the virtues of the GM movement, Turkish nationalism and the Sheikh’s version of Islam. However, she also evidence of rejection of genocide. At that Attorney General Horne interjected saying that was concerning Armenian genocide and not the holocaust. Horne who is Jewish said that he came from a family of Shoah survivors and had relatives in Israel.   Horne is a graduate of both Harvard University and its Law School. Doubtless, he should have known that Hitler who fomented the murder of six million European Jewish men, women and children,  predicated the final solution of the Holocaust based on the West’s indifferent reactions to the plight of millions of Armenians lost in the Ottoman jihad death marches  during WWI.

 He justified his defense of the GM academies in Arizona by the academic performance of Gulen charter school students. Moreover, given the history of Jews during the holocaust, he indicated that it was unseemly to criticize another religion, in this case, Islam.  Notwithstanding, the presentation of information we provided on the GM academies in the US and the stealth jihad agenda of the GM doctrine propounded by Sheikh Gulen,  he saw nothing that would cause him to investigate their operations in Arizona.  This is notwithstanding the evidence of both state and FBI investigations in other jurisdictions.  Lisa Benson noted that he endorsed the Gulen even after she presented him with open source information that they supporter him when he was Superintendent of Public Instruction in Arizona.  Horne suggested to Benson that he wanted to focus on the charter schools run by La Raza rather than on Gulen. La Raza is an extremist Latino group were fostering rejectionist views of America replete with posters of Argentine Cuban icon, Che Guevara were the problem du jour for Horne.

Horne told Benson that, “I am not soft on Islam issues, but I don’t see anything wrong with Gulen.” Yet he would not admit that Islam could be so overt and obvious. My co-host Lisa Benson reacted angrily to Horne’s comments.  Horne came with an agenda to yesterday’s program. It was to put both he and his GM supporters in Arizona in the best possible light.  As I said in an after program dialogue with both Benson and Attorney General Horne, he came with a closed mind not to engage in meaningful dialogue. Problem is that he evinced no curiosity about the evidence presented. That was not his purpose; it was trolling for votes in a hotly contested Republican primary for the top law officer position in Arizona.

Listen to the podcast of the Lisa Benson Show of August 24, 2014 with Nidra Poller and Arizona Attorney General Thomas Horne.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of Sufi Sheikh Mohammed Fethulleh Gulen and is courtesy of HizmetNew.com.

Louisiana: Foreign Operated Charter School State Legislation Introduced

Kenilworth Science and Technology School(1)

Gulen Science Academy Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Turkey’s Sunni Muslim Brotherhood Islamist leader, Premier Erdogan, this June could become the country’s first elected Executive President modeled on the US and France. It would give him enormous powers furthering his goal of creating a neo-Ottoman Caliphate.  Erdogan’s former ally, Sufi Sheik Muhammed Fethullah Gülen launched a major split in December 2013, after Erdogan banned non-state run preparatory school. This was, aimed squarely at the Gulen academies, a major source of the multi-billion dollar Gulen Movement (GM) global empire. The GM supplies Turkish nonimmigrant foreign workers to more than 1,000 private preparatory schools in over 100 countries, including more than 135 Charter schools in 20 states here in the US.

The expat Sheik Gulen, a resident alien, occupies a fortified compound in the Poconos Mountains of Eastern Pennsylvania. In retaliation, GM followers in Turkey’s public prosecutors and judiciary launched a series of investigations against Erdogan.  The investigations revealed extensive family involvement with funneling funds via Saudi global terrorist financier for Al Qaeda –backed militias in Syria, bribery payments on major construction projects, illicit gold for gas trades with Iran and muzzling free speech with shutdown of Twitter and You Tube.  Recent municipal election victories in Turkey in late March have paved the way for changes in the country’s basic Constitutional law enabling Erdogan to seek the new form of Presidency. That could have his AK party extend its power a decade beyond the current 11 year tenure of the Islamist party in Ankara’s parliament.

What we have in Turkey today is a contest between two Islamists. Erdogan, seeking to convert the country into a Caliphate with a one time election to an executive Presidency, versus, Gulen “the world’s most dangerous Islamist” slowly perfects the same goal.

The GM connection here in the US is of interest, because of the controversy over the movement’s control of dozens of Math and Science academies operating with US taxpayer funding as charter schools. According to one source there are more than 135 Gulen charter schools with an enrollment of 45,000 students in over 20 states in the US. The staffs of these US charter schools are manned by Turkish Gulenists who enter the US under the H-1B visa program. There have been expose’s on the US Gulen science academies in Texas and elsewhere published by the New York Times. The Gulen  Harmony Schools in Texas received  $30 million in  grants  from the US Department of Education “Race to the Top” program.

We posted on an FBI raid of a Gulen science academy in Louisiana. Because of the problems with the Gulen charter schools, many states have either passed or are considering legislation that would control the proportion of H-1B Visa staff employed at Gulen-sponsored charter schools. The Gulen movement charter school program has been supported by the Gates and Walton Family Foundations.  The Walton Family Foundation contributed more than $1 million for Gulen schools in California, alone. Former President Bill Clinton has gone on record supporting the GM interfaith dialogue and educational development program in 2008. GM members were alleged to have contributed to Hillary Clinton’s failed Presidential Campaign in 2008.

Gulen’s immigration status came into question in the same year, 2008, in actions brought by the US Department of Homeland Security. Note what the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) reported:

In 2008, negative U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service decisions threatened to deny Gulen’s application for permanent residency. A federal court reversed the rulings after receiving 29 letters on Gulen’s behalf. One of those letters came from [Prof. John] Esposito [of Georgetown University]… after his Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding received donations from the [GM] and sponsored a conference in [Gulen’s] honor.

We noted in a December 2013  Iconoclast post a report by Christopher Holton on the FBI investigations into Gulen  Louisiana charter schools and the efforts by a Texas-based GM charity to stop legislation controlling the influx of Turkish adherents under the H-1B visa program:

The story broke in Baton Rouge media that the Kenilworth Science & Technology School had been raided by the FBI.

The FBI indicated that the raid, which evidently was conducted to gather material evidence in the form of documents and computers, was not a matter of public safety. As a result, it probably was not related to a report earlier this year that a teacher at the school was accused of having inappropriate pictures of children on his cell phone.

Had those charges stuck, that would have been the second scandal of a sexual nature involving a Gulenist school in Louisiana. Abramson Science & Technology Charter School in New Orleans was shut down back in 2011 in the wake of a scandal that started as an investigation into sexual activity involving students at the school and evolved into a possible public bribery investigation. Abramson operated under the same charter organization that Kenilworth operates under: Pelican Educational Foundation.

During the course of the investigation into Abramson, Pelican’s ties to the Gulenist movement were revealed.

[ . . . ]

State Representative Cameron Henry in the 2013 legislative session … filed a bill that would have limited the number of employees hired by Louisiana state-funded charter schools who were in the country on H-1B visas. Henry’s legislation would have gotten right to the heart of the matter – with a very reasonable restriction that no more than 3.5 percent of the school’s employees be H-1B visa recipients (or 1 in 29), and that the people or groups submitting requests to start charter schools be American citizens.

Unfortunately, Henry’s bill hit hard where it hurt for some powerful, politically connected people in Louisiana. It seems that the number one donor to the Louisiana Republican Party in 2012 was none other than a Gulenist organization out of Texas. Kemal Oksuz, president of the Turquoise Council, a Texas-based group closely related to the Gulenist movement and the Harmony charter schools in that state, donated $83,000 to the state GOP, making him its largest donor during 2012.

Fast forward to the current 2014 legislative session in Baton Rouge and the re-introduction of restrictive legislation aimed at employment of nonimmigrant Turkish workers in Louisiana charter schools.

HB 1243 was introduced by Reps.  Hodges and Pope, in the Louisiana legislature in late March 2014. The bill’s purposes are to establish conditions for “approval of certain charter school proposals and provides relative to prohibitions on the employment of nonimmigrant foreign workers in charter schools, with exceptions.”  The bill denies” approval of charter school applications if  staff  positions  with  nonimmigrant  foreign  workers  unless the  charter  school  plans  to  take  affirmative  action  to  recruit,  select,  employ,  and  train nonimmigrant  foreign  workers  regardless  of race, color, religion, sex, national ancestry,  or  national  origin.”   The legislation defines a non immigrant foreign worker as ” as an individual  who  has  a  visa  pursuant  to  certain provisions  of  the  federal Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965’. Further it states that “non-immigrant foreign worker” shall not mean a teacher who spends more than half of his time providing instruction in or teaching a foreign language.”

Similar legislation was introduced in the 2014 Mississippi legislature.  HB510 contains similar bars against employment of nonimmigrant foreign workers.  Section 37-28-47 1. (b) of the, Mississippi Code of 1972, would be amended as follows:

 A charter school may not staff positions for teachers, administrators, ancillary support personnel or other employees by utilizing or otherwise relying on non-immigrant foreign worker visa programs.  However, a charter school may submit a request to the authorizer for an exception allowing the employment of a non-immigrant foreign worker before the worker is employed.  The authorizer may grant permission for the employment of the non-immigrant foreign worker only if the charter school makes a satisfactory showing of efforts to recruit lawful permanent residents of the United States to fill the position and a lack of qualified applicants to fill the position.

In May  2011, we were asked to prepare a presentation to brief the Tennessee House Speaker about the GM charter schools investigations at that time and the purported abuses of the H-1B visa program for nonimmigrant foreign workers, see here.  In May 2012, Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam allowed the law restricting the employment of nonimmigrant foreign workers for Charter schools approved by the state despite his misgiving and those of the State’s attorney general in an October 2012 opinion indicated  that the provisions might be unlawful under the equal protection provisions of the US Fourteenth Amendment.   A  Knoxville News .com report on the 2012 Tennessee legislation noted its provisions vis vis foreign interests, including funding as well as restriction on employment of nonimmigrant foreign workers:

The governor announced on May 2, 2012, that the bill restricting foreign interests in charter schools would go into law without his signature.

Under the act, which takes effect July 1, 2012, a chartering authority may not approve an application if a school plans to rely on “non-immigrant foreign worker H-1B or J1 visa programs in excess of 3.5 percent of the total number of positions,”  if operators of the proposed school have been affiliated with other schools that have been “subjects of investigation by any government agencies for questionable use of non-immigrant foreign worker visa programs,” or if  the school is controlled by foreign nationals. Certain provisions of the law do not apply if the chartering authority is a local education agency and the agency itself uses foreign worker visa programs to fill more than 3.5 percent of its staff.

The law also states that charter school applications and renewals shall disclose all sources of private funds and all funds from foreign sources.

The emergence of restrictive employment of non-immigrant foreign workers will take a long time to be adopted by Louisiana and Mississippi, notwithstanding the relatively quick adoption in Tennessee.  Given the battles in Turkey between the AK party of Premier Erdogan and former ally Sheik Gulen there will doubtless be intense pressure to place GM Turkish adherents through its global private academy and charter school network.

There is a further compounding factor that should be considered. The attractiveness of investment in private run charter schools to so-called entrepreneurial immigrants under the EB-5 Visa system. In exchange for a $500,000 private investment, the investor receives an immediate green card.  Note this Reuters article, “The new US visa rush: Build a charter school, get a green card”:

Wealthy individuals from as far away as China, Nigeria, Russia and Australia are spending tens of millions of dollars to build classrooms, libraries, basketball courts and science labs for American charter schools.

In Buffalo, New York, foreign funds paid for the Health Sciences Charter School to renovate a 19th-century orphanage into modern classrooms and computer labs. In Florence, Arizona, overseas investment is expected to finance a sixth campus for the booming chain of American Leadership Academy charter schools.

And in Florida, state business development officials say foreign investment in charter schools is poised to triple next year, to $90 million.

The reason? Under a federal program known as EB-5, wealthy foreigners can in effect buy U.S. immigration visas for themselves and their families by investing at least $500,000 in certain development projects.

The GM has latched on to a good thing in the Charter School system here in the US. It provides a platform for indoctrinating American children in its form of Turkish Islamism supplying employment for GM adherents. The EB-5 system would bolster investment in Charter Schools not only by the GM but also by the Muslim Brotherhood perfecting its form of Da’wah to Somali émigré children. That occurred in Minneapolis with the Muslim American Society control of the Tarek Ibn Zayed Academy subjected to a suit by the Minnesota branch of the ACLU in violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment.  Let’s see if these bills can make it through the Louisiana and Mississippi legislatures in the waning days of the 2014 sessions. Those legislative bills  and the Tennessee law are a work in process that other states with GM charter school problems might consider investigating as remedies.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The New English Review.